TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The Department of Agriculture-Cagayan Valley (Region 2) office is considering the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela as hybrid rice centers in the region.
Lorenzo Caranguain, DA Region 2 executive director, said the move is in support of the government hybridization program aimed at increasing farmers’ income and to make the country more competitive in rice production like its neighbors in the Asia.
Caranguian said during the Director’s Hour Program at DWDA Radyo Pangkaunlaran 105.3 Mhz FM in this city that the DA-Cagayan Valley office will continue its efforts to promote the use of high-yielding varieties like hybrid rice in region.
He cited an ongoing undertaking by the DA in Tagaytay City to create the Philippine Rice Industry Roadmap for Development for 2018-2022 led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, which is expected to boost rice production in the country.
“We are expecting that the contribution of the Cagayan Valley region is of importance because we are next to Central Luzon [Region 3] in rice production in the country,” Caranguian said.
“With this, we are considering the provinces of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya to become the centers for hybrid rice in the Cagayan Valley region with their good performance in rice production in the past years,” he added.
He also said the DA will also extend the production of hybrid rice in the provinces of Cagayan and Quirino because of their potential.
The DA-Cagayan Valley office is also working on the launching a radio program in February 2018 called “School-on-the-Air [SOA] on Climate Smart Agriculture cum Rice Production” as part of its effort toward hybridization of the staple’s production in the region.
Caranguian said the radio program will be jointly undertaken by the International Rice Research Institute, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and other agencies of the government including the academe.
He said SOA aims to enroll 10,000 participants under the “Kaalamang Pagsasaka sa Himpapawid” in Cagayan Valley who are presently cooperators in the Rice Model Farms Project of the DA.
“Compared to hybrid corn where 90 percent of farmers in the region are now using, the adoption rate of hybrid rice is still very low because farmers are still using and prefer inbred rice and other varieties, which are also comparably high in yield,” Caranguian said.
He said the level of adoption among farmers differs from factors like capital and irrigation which, the SOA radio program is considering to give more focus on.
He said the DA-Cagayan Valley office also aims to achieve a minimum of six metric tons (MT) or an average yield of 100-120 cavans of unmilled rice (palay) harvested per hectare in 2022.
“Cagayan Valley [Region 2] has a great potential in hybrid rice production and while the yield per hectare is lower compared to other regions, it has a high surplus, that is why it is important that the hybridization program is pushed in this region,” Caranguian added.